At school we had a game called Bullrush where someone would yell “Bullrush” and you had to try to run to the other side of a sportsfield while avoiding a whole lot of other kids in the middle who would try to catch you. It was rough – they’d often grab you or tackle you rather than just tag you. Being a lousy runner and completely unco-ordinated I’d get caught far too easily and occasionally bullied in the melee as well. Somehow I survived!

Today’s post though is about the plant we call the bullrush, or raupo, or Cats Tail, and so on … Common in so many places I didn’t realise it’s native to NZ until today. I’d just assumed it was a weed that had made itself at home here.

These are photos I took on the fabulous drive into Central Otago that Nigel and I did the weekend before Lockdown. Taken 22 March 2020 with my Panasonic Lumix

Click on any image to enlarge



The down blowing in the wind …


and resting in a lull


These photos were taken near Ophir.

Interesting Fact Sheet giving a NZ context to the Bullrush or Raupo, by the Herb Federation of New Zealand.

Text and photos by Liz; Exploring Colour (2020)

8 thoughts on “Bullrush!

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  1. I think we called that “game” Red Rover, a great opportunity to get knocked over and come up with a mouthful of dirt, grass, or sawdust. Can’t say as I miss those particular days very much! And like Ellen Jennings’s area, “cattails” here, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, you’re right. From the link I put at the end of the post (this is so interesting but I hadn’t got around to reading it before posting):

      In New Zealand all parts of the raupo plant have being harvested and used in a variety of ways. Dry leaves are the traditional material for covering poi which was then filled with the fluffy down from the seed heads. It was an important food source for the Maoris and has been used as a survival food in many countries. The top of the yellow spike, hand shaken lets loose profuse amounts of edible pollen which was made into bread (punga punga). Adding water made an acceptable gruel. The starchy rhizome was eaten raw or boiled as a green vegetable. Traditionally stalks were used for thatching the walls and roofs of whare and storehouses and the down for stuffing bedding. The leaves were used for canoe sails and kites, while bundles of the stalks made temporary rafts.

      Liked by 1 person

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